Home biography The Bad ending of police boss who hit Raila with wooden stick

The Bad ending of police boss who hit Raila with wooden stick

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ODM leader Raila Odinga is often described as the enigma of Kenyan politics, having been active for more than forty years, rubbing shoulders with three of the four Kenyan presidents.

In his book, The Flame of Freedom, Raila narrated how a police commissioner was fired for failing to break his resilience while he was in detention.

Odinga had been locked up for a week when he was transferred to the GSU headquarters together with then Sunday Standard Assistant Managing Editor Otieno Mak’Onyango.

At this place, he met, for the first time, police commissioner Ben Gethi. who had personally come to interrogate him on his connection with the 1982 attempted coup.

Raila further stated that Gethi, who appeared drunk, ordered his entourage to beat up him up if he failed to cooperate.

“Gethi had clearly spent too long in the GSU mess that evening, he was drunk and, while chewing disgustingly on a roasted goat leg, he encouraged the squad of people he came with to assault us,” Raila stated.

He had been accompanied by GSU Commandant Peter Mbuthia, Inspector Muriithi Mwaniki and three other officers.

Gethi then ordered that Raila and his fellow detainees be supplied with a pen and paper for them to explicitly explain what they knew about the coup.

Odinga’s statement made Gethi seeth with anger as it implicated the police boss’ close friend and the then Justice Minister Charles Njonjo.

“When Gethi saw that my statement incriminated Njonjo, he grabbed it and angrily ripped it to shreds and ordered me to start again. I wrote another statement which he similarly tore,” he added.

Raila claimed that after the police commissioner learnt that he was not going to get anything useful from Raila he left.

Two days after the incident, Gethi was relieved of his duties as a police commissioner and was also detained for 10 months until June 1983.

Mbuthia was also sent on compulsory leave and relieved of his duties as the GSU commandant

Ben Gethi — who was disclosed in 2000 as the one who allegedly first fired at JM Kariuki during his interrogation at Special Branch headquarters — died in 1994 aged 62.

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